Part 1: Theft in the Field: Securing Your Mobile Assets

Posted by Oren Cohen

Fri, Feb 01, 2013

mobileThe loss of a mobile device or intrusion from a hacker can be devastating for a regular consumer. For companies, mobile assets can hold valuable business intelligence that could place then entire company in jeopardy. Field service businesses must have mobile capabilities in order to dispatch technicians, communicate with the main office, and manage daily operations. Losing a smart phone, tablet or laptop in the field can grind business to a halt. Likewise there are other assets on your service trucks that must be protected such as tools, spare parts and other items.

For businesses that rely on mobile devices and other service related items, a security plan should be in place to make sure all mobile assets are secured and protected.

The following are seven key steps to secure your mobile assets:

  • Stay alert – implement specific checks that every field agent should perform. These checks should include confirming key assets are in place such as mobile devices, testing equipment, and other valuables. Vehicle doors should remain locked at all times and if an item is removed the post-service call check should confirm it has been returned.

  • Cyber-crime – hackers and other intrusions are not only interested in desktop computers. Mobile devices have proven to be a very profitable opportunity for thieves of all sorts. Be aware that not only can your device be physically stolen – it can be tapped into and used to extract personal and business data.

  • Storage – consider the types of data that is stored on your mobile devices, and then weigh the risks associated. Contact information, appointments, account data, customer addresses and other data could be lifted from a mobile device without even knowing about it. Imagine an HVAC company who keeps a schedule on their mobile device of all air conditioner installations and the copper thefts that could occur. Instead consider utilizing cloud services that will keep information off of the device and in a more secure location.

  • Lock down – setting a PIN or security code for your phone or mobile device to at least slow down the theft process. Also consider encrypting mobile device information that requires a secure password before it can be read. There are applications available to provide encryption.

  • Back up – a routine backup of mobile devices should be performed so that data can be recovered if it is lost or corrupted. Work with an online backup service provider that can provide remote backups of all your devices.

  • Inventory – take an inventory of all mobile devices including the IMEI number, serial number, and the owner/user of the device. Keep this information in a secure location to use in the event that you must contact your mobile service provider to track or disable a device.

  • Wipe it – there are services available that can wipe or disable your mobile device if it is ever stolen. These services can be used on Android, Blackberry and Apple operating systems.

  • Hack Prevention – inform users to avoid clicking on unknown links from texts or emails. Authorize only specific applications to be installed and utilized on your mobile devices. Keep operating systems and apps updated with the latest versions, which often include internal protections against known viruses or hacks.

Your mobile assets are the lifeblood of your business. Keep them protected and secured from theft or intrusion.

Tags: Enterprise Mobility, Field service management software, Workforce Management Tips